I don’t know if my ears are frostbitten or sunburnt! The weather gods were extremely kind to us over the weekend in Hagen—no rain, endless sunshine, mild temperatures—but an icy cold wind sometimes swept across the show grounds and froze everything in its path with the power of Medusa’s stare. My ears got in the way!
Hagen has become the traditional “outdoor opener” for the spring international season in Europe. I think it is one of the best organized and most entertaining shows on the tour. Situated at Hof Kasselmann, the show is visited and enjoyed by both top professionals and non-horsey tourists. Ulli and Bianca Kasselmann are generous, relaxed hosts who take care of every fine detail that goes into a superb show for competitors and spectators alike.
Watch a video overview of the show.
I took Winyamaro to Hagen to ride in the CDN tour. W is only 10 years old, and the management of his career becomes important now. I had originally planned to start in the international Grand Prix tour at Hagen, which would have been his first international start, but I changed my mind after analyzing our performance at a national tour the weekend before.
(By the way, we at Turnierstall Haddad believe that the “W” letter of the alphabet has taken an unfair hit in recent years and wish to redeem its normally positive image by associating it with Winyamaro. Besides, W is a nicer nickname than Achmed the Suicide Bomber, which we feel he has now outgrown.)
You can see Jeff Dunham’s original Achmed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uwOL4rB-go
W’s version of the suicide bomber is not so funny.
Even though W went very well last weekend at the Zierow CDN and even managed to win the Grand Prix Special, I wanted to make sure that he would stay in front of my leg in all the collected movements for one more test before moving on to international competition. In Germany, the whip is allowed in all national classes, so even though I try not to use it in the test, it’s often advantageous to carry it on a young horse. I prefer to give a light tap with the whip in a moment when my horse needs a little help behind rather than reacting too strongly with my leg. I find that this builds confidence in the horse and lets me ride very forward into all the collected movements without a fear of over half-halting and losing the impulsion in the piaffe or passage.
So I switched W out of the international tour at Hagen and into the national tour known as the Medien Cup. The Medien Cup is a series of events across Germany designed for young Grand Prix horses. Horses 8-10 years old who have placed at least once in an FEI level class are allowed to start, and the tour always begins with a warm-up qualification for the final class. The top three in each final are invited to the Championship at the end of the season.
In any case, I don’t entertain fanciful ideas about winning the Medien Cup and the Porsche convertible that goes with it (do you believe that, Rita?), but I did want to give W one more go at the GP level in a national tour to better prepare him for an international start. He was fabulous and most things went as planned. I made some silly small errors in the test, but W was totally focused, full of energy and, as usual, ready to show off.
We finished a respectable 15th out of 41 starters. Unfortunately, we did not make the top 12 to go on to the next test, but my goals were already accomplished with the light, fresh, forward feeling I got in test. W is ready to move on!
Watch his Intermediaire II test.
I’m Catherine Haddad, and I’m sayin it like it is from Vechta, Germany.
Training Tip of the Day: Do you go to a show in order to prove something, or do you go to a show in order to improve something?